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27.10.2020 69

Election countdown: A Trump opening after the final Presidential debate?

Published October 27, 2020

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  • President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden met in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday 23 October for the final presidential debate. This is an important milestone in the campaign, and early indications the morning after the debate are that while both camps felt proud of their performance, it may persuade some undecided and GOP-leaning independent voters back to the Trump fold.
  • Expectations were high for both candidates. For President Trump, it was his last opportunity to change the trajectory in the race. For Biden, it was to avoid a serious mistake that could alter the dynamic of the race from a referendum on the incumbent to a binary choice. Trump’s performance may have shifted slightly the dynamics a bit closer.
  • The President and former Vice President debated seven topics: Covid-19, National Security, Healthcare, Jobs, Immigration, Race, and Climate Change. After the interruptions that marred the first debate, rules were established to turn off the opponent’s microphone for the first two minutes of a candidate’s response to a question. This led to far fewer interruptions, but the debate was still personal and tense at times. Nonetheless, this final debate was more informative and did break some new ground on policy.
  • Both maintained a ‘tough on China’ stance. It was an ironic role reversal, where the Democratic candidate sounded more hawkish than the Republican one.
  • Biden’s remark on oil has the potential to upset the US oil industry and could become a factor not just in the national Presidential race, but in local races in the oil-producing states of Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Texas.

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